Friday, December 3, 2010

Pappardelle With Pancetta, Chestnuts And Sage

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This is by far the best pasta I have had in a long, long time.  Perhaps it is the combination of the sweetness of the chestnuts with the pancetta and sage.  I really don't know, but it works.  It is an easy and elegant main course for a weeknight dinner or a beautiful lunch.   All it needs to go with it is a leafy salad.  Have extra Parmesan cheese to pass around after you serve.

You can substitute the pancetta, if you must, with bacon;  but make sure you cut it first in 1/2 inch pieces and boil it in about 2 inches of water for about 5 minutes to get rid of the fat.  Then proceed with the recipe.

Bottled chestnuts might now be on sale at your local Williams Sonoma.  I am lucky enough to live about 10 minutes from their outlet and got them this weekend half price.  I have been hoarding bottles for 2 weeks, saving three for my chestnut soup on Christmas Eve.  You will also find them at specialty stores but try to get this brand, they are superb, although a bit pricey.  If you go the long route, try to steam instead of  boiling or roasting.

Serves 4 as a main course or 6 for a first course


3 ounces Pancetta chopped
1 TB Olive Oil
1 small Onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves
2 TB finely chopped sage
1/2 lbs ( 1 1/2 cups) bottled, peeled and cooked chestnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 lbs Pappardelle, tagliatelle or fettuccine
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 TB butter
3 TB Heavy cream (optional)*
Salt & Pepper
1 Tb finely chopped parsley


Cook pancetta in oil in a 12 inch skillet until it begins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Add onions and cook another 3 to 4 minutes.  Add garlic and 1 Tb sage.  Cook for another minute.  Add chestnuts and remove from heat.

Cook pasta until al dente and drain, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.

Add pasta to the pancetta mixture, plus 1 cup of reserved water, the cheese and butter and stir constantly over high heat until thoroughly coated, about 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper, add the remaining sage and sprinkle with parsley.  Serve immediately and pass some extra cheese.

* I added the heavy cream after adding about 1/2 cup of the water.  Reduced water by 1/4 cup.  This is optional but yummy.  You can skip and just add the water.


  1. Yum!!! I am definitely heading to the gym now -- so I can enjoy this later! Do you mind if I ask which brand of pasta you use?

  2. Delverde or you can use Barilla or any of the top Italian pastas.

  3. Pancetta, chestnuts and sage, three of my favorite
    foodie items. I will try this as a feature this week at the restaurant!!

  4. Chef-

    Nothing would flatter me more. I bet you will have many takers!


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